Need Help. coolant in oil, engine knocking, won't stay running.

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by 89' RICE COOKER, Dec 2, 2007.


  1. 89' RICE COOKER

    89' RICE COOKER New Member

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    Hey guys, long time no post. Well I've put about 30K on my new engine I installed a while back(89' LX). I have not had one problem whatsoever, until now. Lately it's been a little rough starting in the morning and I think that is just because my fuel pump is going out. anyways on my way home tonight my car had a ticking noise and I thought maybe I just needed to add a quart or something. Then POOF with a nice cloud of smoke. Car about died but I was in the intersection, so I kept on the gas (pretty heavly) just to keep it running til I could park it. The temp gauge flew up pretty quick. tried to start it back up and it wouldnt stay running on its own and it had a very unpleasant knocking sound. So Im like oh f@*k...blown head gasket. Checked the oil and sure enough it was milky brown.
    My question is, does this sound like a typical blow head gasket case. I have never blow a head gasket on any car before so I dont really know. Or do you think I could have a more serious issue like a broken rod or piston head? Just looking for some advice on what to do from here. anything else I should worry about? I had to park the car in HomeDepo parking lot for the night. So im gonna get a tow or something tomorrow so I can pull the head off in my garage. Thnks Guys!
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  2. ethangsmith

    ethangsmith New Member

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    It sounds like a classic case of a head gasket failure. It sounds like the oil pressure passage area of the gasket failed first and radiated out from there. Head gasket changes on these engines are pretty easy. The big question is what caused the head gasket failure. Sometimes they DO just fail, but most of the time it is from overheating. Going by the temperature gauge on the dash is not always a good idea. When you have the head off the engine, you may want to replace the water pump and thermostat as both are a snap to replace and are cheap insurance. You were smart in shutting off the engine right away. Water in the oil leads to almost immediate bearing failure. Make sure you get that oil/water mix out of there ASAP! Put new oil in and drive it, but monitor it VERY closely and if there is any, and I mean any milkiness present, do another oil change (even if you don't see any, change it again within 200-300 miles to ensure all of the coolant is out of the oiled areas of the engine). This will ensure there is no bearing failure or internal corrosion of the block.
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  3. 89' RICE COOKER

    89' RICE COOKER New Member

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    Ya I dont have a clue what would have caused this. I dont think it overheated because I had just got off work 5 mins before that. but my it has overheated a few times in the past and it just failed now. Is the knocking normal, cause its not a ticking, its almost like a cluncking. Is that just because of the lack of lubrication?
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  4. ethangsmith

    ethangsmith New Member

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    Deep knocking (klunking) would most likely indicated a bad main bearing. If it was doing this beforehand then there may have been some sort of failure in the oiling system (clogged passage, bad pump) which probably wouldn't cause a head gasket failure, but it's always possible. If it has started this klunking since the head gasket failure, it means the coolant got to the bearings and fried them. Either way, it sounds like it may be time for a rebuild (reuse current engine or go yank one at a junkyard). The good thing is 2.3L engines are simple and parts are cheap, so whatever work it will need should not kill your wallet. I have a carbed 2.3L out of an 86 Capri sitting in my garage that I fully disassembled and will be sending out for a rebuild. It will have to be rebored because a compression ring cracked and put a score in the cylinder wall. Even with having it rebored, new pistons, rods, bearings, seals, oil pump, pan, and refinishing the crank, I would not expect it to be over $800. I had looked into a garage doing a full bottom end job on my Capri last spring and they said they could do it for about $1200 max, including labor. Hopefully you can figure out what's going on with it and get it all repaired. The knocking is very strange though.
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  5. 89' RICE COOKER

    89' RICE COOKER New Member

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    Well I don't think it would need a complete rebuild, considering the engine itself only has about 25-30K on it. I bought it completly reman'd for dirt cheap ($400) from a shop. I tore the motor down, all I have to do is take off the timing belt and pull the head.
    The thing that scares me the most is when I unbolted the header, some water dripped out of one of the bolt holes by the first cylinder right when I loosened it. not much, but a few drops. as soon as I can get the dang timing belt off, ill know exactly what happened but I can't get the tension of the belt to pull it off. It was getting quite cold in the garage so I called it a day. It looked like the #1 and #3 exhaust ports were wet too, but it could have been just oil. Hopefulley no major damage though, the engine is only a little over a year old. But there was quite a bit of coolant in the oil when I drained it though. probably about 2 extra quarts came out.
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  6. ethangsmith

    ethangsmith New Member

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    Hopefully the block isn't cracked or the head cracked. Heads are fairly cheap and easy to come by, but being that this engine was recently rebuilt, none of this should have ever happened. Was it your fault the engine failed? I would say most likely not. I have never heard of a rebuilt engine with only 30K on it blowing up because of the fault of the owner. Did it come with a warranty?
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  7. 89' RICE COOKER

    89' RICE COOKER New Member

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    Bad news...I got the head off lastnight. head gasket looked fine, head looked flawless too. I was cleaning the top off the pistons off and when I got to the last piston (#1) it rocks back and forth about 1/4" each way! So im thinkin I either have a broken rod or busted piston(explains the knocking). Hopefully I do have another golfball size hole in my cylinder wall (thats what happen to my last motor, and the reason I bought this one.). But with the amount of cooland I had in the oil and considering the shape of the head gasket, I don't know how that much water got in the oil. So Im crossing my fingers that it was just a result of the piston hitting the head and breaking the seal of the head gasket. So Ive got more work to do today, first I think Im just going to take off the water pump and shove a hose in there to see if drains into the crankcase. if not, Ill drop the oil pan and go from there. Does this sound like a good approach? If I pour water in the waterpump hole, I shouldnt get any water in the crankcase right? (assuming that the cylinder wall is still in good shape) And if I do, Ive got a problem.
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  8. Distortion 5.0

    Distortion 5.0 New Member

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    Wow... None of that sounds good... Honestly I would just tear down the motor at this point. You will deffinately find the problem, and it sounds like you will need to no matter what. I doubt that the loose piston making contact with the head gasket would temporarily break the seal. If so, there should be visible evidence of it.
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  9. 89' RICE COOKER

    89' RICE COOKER New Member

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    Ya I know. The head looks good from what I can see, no marks on it. It just sucks that Im having to rebuild my engine when its only got around 25-30K on it. Well Im gonna drop the oil pan later today and get the the bottom of it. hopefully the block is still in good shape so I CAN rebuild it.
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  10. 89' RICE COOKER

    89' RICE COOKER New Member

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    Well I didnt have any luck getting the oil pan off today. looks like Im going to have to pull the engine out anyways to work on whatever is causeing my#1 piston to rock back and forth about 1/4". I did rotate the crank and the cylinder still moves up and down, the cyl wall looks good from top dead center to as low as it goes. It just really beats me on how about half of my coolant got in the oil. the head gasket looked good with no signs of leaking and the is no hole (that I can see from the top off the piston when its lowered) in the cylinder wall. I have a new water pump, new 3 core radiator,thermostat, and a manual switch for the fan. and its only been around 40* here. So I don't think it over heated. But it has gotten pretty hot once or twice in the summer when I forgot to switch my fan on. But it never had any effect on how it ran at all afterwards when it cooled. Does anyone have a guess at how so much coolant leaked? Because if I do find that the only thing wrong (that I can see) is a bad bearing or broken piston, which from what I believe and correct me if im wrong, wouldn't cause a coolant leak. Then get it all back together with new gaskets and all, and have the same problem with coolant leaking. Because I do believe that the coolant leak is what caused something to break and not vise-versa. ,considering about 5mins before this problem the engine did have a loud ticking and then the clucking and smoke after. If anyone even has a guess at what caused my cooland leak have at it! Because my 2.3 knowledge only goes as far as... I know what all the parts do, where they go, and what theyre called. But as far as the internal pluming of the head and block I dont know much and dont know what to look for except cracks or holes. And a BIG THANX for the help guys, really.
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  11. ethangsmith

    ethangsmith New Member

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    In the 2.3L, there are ony 3 ways oil can mix with coolant, none of which are good. 1. You could have a crack in your headgasket or some how dislodged it. 2. Cracked head. 3. Cracked block. Being able to see or not see a crack does not mean a whole lot. Cast iron can get hairline cracks invisible to the eye that can pass coolant or oil through them when it is under pressure. Having no scoring on the cylinder wall is promising. My fear at this point is the jarring of whatever happened to the #1 cylinder was enough to put a split in the bottom of the block somewhere. This is my only fear. Once you get the engine out and the oil pan off you'll get a better idea of what is going on. I agree, it does sound like the piston cracked or broke. But, again, as you had said, this would not make your oil and coolant mix as it did. It would have to have other issues in conjunction with this. The last thing is, what made this piston break? They generally don't just break by themselves, especially when the car is being driven properly and is being cared for. I am leaning towards a rebuilding defect that caused this since it is so low mileage. Is there any way the place you got it from would have to pay for the repairs?
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  12. 89' RICE COOKER

    89' RICE COOKER New Member

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    I wish It I had sometype of warranty with it.I think when I bought it, it came with a 90 day warrany (and that was only if I had it "professionaly" installed). I didnt buy it off of Ebay, but it that is how I found it and I bought it after the auction ended through the party. It wasnt from just some Joe, it was sold to me buy a shop in Texas (They had sold hundreds of engines when I checked their past transactions) and it came with paper work that showed it was actually remanufactured by AC Delco, witch I found kinda odd because I thought AC Delco was affiliated with GM, but I could be wrong. But they shipped the longblock from Texas to a Dock only a few minutes away from my house in Oregon for under $500. It also came with a Felpro gasket set, a rubber Felpro valve cover gasket, and a new set of injectors which was a plus. So it was a very good deal I couldnt pass up. considering at the time, I had a golfball size hole in my #4 cyl in the mustang I had just bought. I bought the car from and old couple for $200 with a shot engine and tranny. But the rest of the car was perfect. $700 for the car+engine and $600 for the tranny rebuild. So for $1300 bucks I had a pretty reliable car, so I was pretty pleased......well until now.:)
    Anyway, Ill let yall know whats going on as soon as I rip 'er out.
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